Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Info about "Beyond the Gates" film

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

GARDEN GROVE, CA (ANS) -- When I was a new Christian in Birmingham, England, the incredible story of how five missionaries who gave their lives to reach a tribe of Ecuadorian Indians in the 1950s, had a deep impact on my life and that of my wife Norma, who gave her life to Christ the night a slide-show about their story was shown at my father’s little church, The Sparkbrook Mission. (Pictured: Mincaye, one of the Waodani tribesmen who killed Christian missionaries in Ecuador in 1956, now is Christian himself. picture by Elliot Walach).

In 1956, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian reached out to the Auca [Waodani] people, perhaps the most violent culture ever documented. This primitive tribe had terrorized the more peaceful people the missionaries had been working with, so the five approached the Aucas with gifts, friendly messages, and a plane ride. But just as they thought they were forming friendships, a band of Auca warriors attacked with spears and machetes, killing the men and throwing their bodies into the river. (Pictured: Nate Saint with one of the Waodani tribesmen on the beach where he was later murdered).

But what made the story even more extraordinary was the heroic leap of faith and understanding that drove the families of the slain missionaries to seek out the very same tribesmen that killed their relatives decades earlier.

I have just watched an advanced copy of the critically-acclaimed true story of sacrifice and redemption, BEYOND THE GATES OF SPLENDOR that arrives on DVD and VHS October 4, 2005 from Fox Home Entertainment and I recommend as a “must see” for all Christians and church groups.

It is an intense and inspiring feature-length documentary from Bearing Fruit Communications about faith, forgiveness and crossing cultural boundaries. BEYOND THE GATES OF SPLENDOR recounts the chronicle of five missionaries who gave their lives to reach a tribe of Ecuadorian Indians in the 1950s and the heroic leap of faith and understanding that drove the families of the slain missionaries to seek out the very same tribesmen that killed their relatives’ decades earlier. (Pictured: DVD cover, BEYOND THE GATES OF SPLENDOR).

This compelling adaptation of Elisabeth Elliot’s international best-seller Through the Gates of Splendor was awarded the 2004 Palm Beach International Film Festival’s prestigious Audience Award and the Heartland Film Festival’s Crystal Heart Award and will be available to own for the suggested retail price of $19.98 U.S./$26.98 Canada on DVD and $12.98 U.S./$14.98 Canada on VHS.

The compelling documentary contains moving first-hand accounts from the missionaries’ widows and interviews with their children and the actual tribesmen involved in the missionaries’ killings, the documentary provides a compelling look into the spearing deaths that providentially changed the violent nature of the tribe. It also details the remarkable story of how two American women reached out and brought peace to the Waodani people as a result of the spearings by living among the very people who killed their loved ones.

What makes the film even more extraordinary is that it is narrated by Steve Saint, son of slain missionary Nate Saint, who after he grew up went back to serve the Waodani people –he doesn’t like to call them Aucas as that means “naked savages.” Steve Saint also served as principal advisor on a wide-release, feature-length version of the story, End of the Spear.
Norma and I were moved to tears as Steve Saint gave the accounts of the relationships that he and the others developed with some of the very men who killed his father. It is an incredible example of radical and forgiveness.

A highlight was the account in the film of how Rachel Saint, sister of Nate Saint, lived among the Waodanis until she died in 1994. Nate's two children, Kathy and Steve, spent their summers there, too. Kathy Saint was baptized at her own request by Kimo, one of the warriors who speared her father. In 1995, Steve Saint, who was 5 when his father was killed, took his wife and children to the tribe to build an airport and a hospital. Steve Saint has worked tirelessly since then to help indigenous people become more self-sufficient. (Pictured: Steve Saint with Mincaye, one of the warriors that was involved in the killing of the five missionaries).

Bearing Fruit Communications has announced the national availability of Beyond the Gates of Splendor, an award-winning documentary commemorating a classic Christian testimony of tragedy, triumph, forgiveness and redemption. Bearing Fruit Communications was formed to educate and empower Christians with stories that demonstrate the relevance of God’s Word for today’s world.

As part of the national launch of the documentary, Bearing Fruit Communications is offering more than 10,000 free kits of Beyond the Gates of Splendor to churches that are interested in screening it for their congregations or as part of outreach events. The church screening kits contain an abridged (40 minutes) version of the documentary, marketing materials and ads for promoting the screenings, as well as additional study guide materials to aid pastors, lay and small group leaders in sharing an unforgettable story.

Bearing Fruit Communications was commissioned by and is a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies – North America, an alliance of leading ministries specifically committed to communicating God's Word in its various forms. Open Doors, a worldwide Christian ministry to persecuted Christians, is also a member of the forum.

Dr. Carl A. Moeller, President/CEO of Open Doors USA, has urged churches to order the documentary and use the kit to impact their congregation and community. “Beyond the Gates of Splendor is an inspiring story of hope, forgiveness and God’s transforming power among the Waodani tribe in Ecuador. From the slaughter of the five missionaries in 1956 came changed hearts and changed lives. I encourage your church to order the documentary kit today. It is a powerful testimony.”

The BEYOND THE GATES OF SPLENDOR church kit release is the first of three stages planned to bring this compelling story to audiences. In October, the full-length version of the Beyond the Gates of Splendor documentary will be available for purchase in DVD format in stores nationwide.

In January 2006, Bearing Fruit Communications is taking the story to the “big screen.” Bearing Fruit Communications contracted with the for-profit production company, Every Tribe Entertainment, to produce and release a full-length feature film, End of the Spear, in theaters across the nation.

Churches, schools and nonprofit organizations interested in receiving a Beyond the Gates of Splendor screening kit can visit www.beyondthegatesthemovie.com or call (800) 695-9847.

Note: BEYOND THE GATES OF SPLENDOR debuts on DVD and VHS October 4, 2005 From Fox Home Entertainment.

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